Black Shale Suspension Bridge Hike

Black Shale Suspension Bridge

240 Ft Black Shale Suspension Bridge Hike Among the Trees

Distance
7.1km

Trail type
Out and back

Elevation
333m

Level
Easy

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Benny Lau (@bennyklau)

Grand Views for a Small Hike

Whether it be the crisp spring air or the welcoming breeze of summer, a perfect hike may just be this 2-3 hour hike in Kananaskis. The quaint Black Shale Suspension Bridge hike offers hikers and families the opportunity to enjoy verdant coated paths, aqua blue lakes and the stunning Rockies without the exertion of a more advanced hike. Located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, this well-groomed trail highlights a suspension bridge as rewarding as any summit throughout spring, summer and fall. Kids will love the magic the bridge sparks as they look over the railing to the forest floor below and marvel as the clouds evaporate into the horizon.

Where Is It?

Located a mere 105 minute drive from Calgary turn off the TarnsCanada onto highway 40, then exit onto the Smith-Dorrien Highway and drive approximately 3 km. The Black Shale Suspension Bridge trail does not have an official trailhead. You’ll know that you’ve gone 200 m too far if you spot the Peninsula Day Use Area. Parking is accessible in the Mount Black Prince parking lot. The Peninsula trailhead is found on the east side of the highway.

Trail Highlights

The suspension bridge may be the highlight of the hike, but the slow, elevated climb to the top can also be appreciated as the forest teems with life and colour. Walking from the Black Prince Day Use Area – 300 m across the Smith-Dorrien Highway – the trail will lead you to the right. The smooth, wide path is accessible to hikers, runners, and mountain bikers in the warmer months, providing plenty of options to reach the bridge for future trips (we promise you’ll come back!). The trek to the suspension bridge lasts 3 km, enough to build anticipation for the picturesque scenes. The bridge slopes through an open awning in the heart of the forest, allowing you to take in the rugged architecture of mother nature. While Black Prince parking lot hosts an arrangement of picnic tables, you may also choose to take a snack break close to the suspension bridge’s outcropping of trees and open skies.

Return Trip

After crossing the suspension bridge, hikers will have two options for a return trip. If you turn around and retrace your steps the way you came, your vehicle will greet you at the familiar trailhead. Or, you can continue downhill past the opposite end of the suspension bridge. The only quirk to this return trip is that your hiking group’s endpoint is nearer to Lower Kananaskis Lake at the Peninsula Day Use Area. Returning this way, a hiker will either need to backtrack to grab your vehicle and drive it to the new endpoint or before your trip begins, you can drop a second vehicle off before parking in the Black Prince parking lot. The Black Shale Suspension Bridge trail proves that you do not need to have the most hiking experience to still witness stunning views – and now you have the rest of the day left for more quality family time in the ever-family friendly Kananaskis.

Tips

  • This is a popular trail. During peak times there is a safety limit of 20 people on the bridge at once. Hiking earlier gives you more selfie time with the trees!
  • Leashed dogs are welcomed on the trail.
  • The Black Prince Cirque Interpretive trail branches from the parking lot for an extra 4.8 km loop around the glassy Warspite Lake. 
  • As mountain bikers frequent this trail, stay aware while you hike the path up to the suspension bridge. 
  • Practice caution on the suspension bridge and bring bear spray as warmer months draw bears and cougars to the area.
  • Before you leave, check the weather pattern and trail reports for the Black Prince Area. 
  • Fill up on water before you go as this trail does not offer drinking water facilities.